Port Vale consistently have among the most fans watching League Two games on the EFL’s iFollow service.
The club’s chief executive Colin Garlick has revealed figures for January put Vale fourth highest among the 20 clubs in the division who stream their games through iFollow.
Streaming has been crucial for fans to watch their team this season while games have been played behind closed doors because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The match commentary has also proved a talking point – with some earning more praise than others when the ‘home commentary’ is shared for followers of the home and away clubs.
But the service has been a way for fans to follow games….and Vale have had more viewers than most.
That’s despite the club’s struggles on he pitch as Vale have gone from fifth at the end of October to fourth from bottom after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Salford.
Viewing figures reached a peak for the game at Leyton Orient on February 20 when 1,525 supporters bought match passes for Darrell Clarke’s first game as manager.
The club supplies streaming codes for home games to season-ticket holders as part of a replacement package because they can’t be at the games. Non season-ticket holders can buy a match pass for £10.
When Vale fans buy a match pass for an away game, money from the first 500 passes goes to the home club. But Vale supporters have consistently topped that number and so generated money for their own club.
Vale’s iFollow figures for their away games January and February are as follows. The figures for home games are not included because they do not include season ticket holders who are given a streaming code.
Mansfield – 961
Forest Green Rovers – 1,223
Scunthorpe – 870
Leyton Orient: 1,525
Vale are expecting their revenues to be around £1m down this season as a result of playing the entire campaign behind closed doors. So, while money from streaming doesn’t come close to filling that gap, it has provided a welcome income in a year then the club has lost out on matchday ticket and hospitality sales.
Garlick said: “I am pleased, to be in that top five in the division is really good. We are grateful for everything. In these times when it is difficult, we have the fantastic support of season ticket holders that are still there and streaming home games. But there will be season ticket holders who are also buying the away games.
“With those away games, everything over 500 is coming back to the club so that is a plus.
“The money that is coming in every month from there is helpful but it in no way makes up for not having supporters in the ground.”